Minbatiwalla had two mortgages with various JPMorgan Chase entities. On filing of his bankruptcy, Chase Home Finance, LLC filed papers with the court on behalf of U.S. Bank as well as an unknown mortgage trust asking for payment of pre-bankruptcy arrears; a second claim was filed by JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A. also demanding payment of arrears.
Minbatiwalla's attorney, Manhattan bankruptcy lawyer David B. Shaev, looked on both documents with suspicion. "My client wants to pay his mortgage, but now he doesn't know who is the rightful recipient of the money. There was nothing but a summary attached, with nothing to indicate which party was which, or to whom the monies should be paid," Shaev said. "A string of mortgage trusts and servicers only confused the situation, and we needed to be sure that the property parties would be paid."
Though Shaev demanding more information on the transfer of the loans and the relationships of the parties, he was met with no response.Undeterred, he demanded that the claims for payment be denied in full. Bankruptcy Court Judge Martin Glenn, in a 26-page written opinion, found that Chase's failure to attach documentation and respond to the Shaev's information requests is fatal to their claims for payment. "Here it is not clear whether the claim was assigned to Chase, or whether Chase was the original party on the mortgage and the note," Glenn wrote. "[The Debtor requested additional information from the claimant in October and has received no documents."
A copy of the full opinion is available from the Court's website here (http://www.nysb.uscourts.gov/opinions/mg/185702_20_opinion.pdf). This is not the first time Shaev has seen mortgage servicer abuses in the bankruptcy courts. He has recently fought - and won - in cases against a variety of lenders who have refused to treat bankruptcy debtors with the fairness the law demands.
"The homeowner won the battle today," Shaev said on hearing of the decision. "But with so much mortgage servicer abuse in bankruptcy, the war wages on."